Aussie Travels – OurWarwick
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Aussie Travels

Now 10 weeks into a 14 week placement on the other side of the world, now is as good a time as any to finally write about a blog entry about my experience so far and how all this came to be!

There are currently a few options open to third year chemists on what they want to spend their time doing in term 3. Fellow blogger Amy Kynman has written a very good blog explaining what happens if you chose to spend your third term at Warwick, I have copied an abstract from the blog and will include a link to the blog post below:

 https://studentblogs.warwick.ac.uk/chemistry7/entry/third_year_chemistry/

Amy: “I chose to do my lab work at Warwick, as I wanted to spend my last term as an undergrad on campus… As part of the standard chemistry course all students do core labs, which are three, week-long assessed laboratories, one for organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. This year, these take place in the first four weeks of term, in which we have been given one week off. After each lab we’ve also had an assignment, which we have the following week to complete… Weeks 5-7 are then used for the optional extended lab module, which students need to take if they want their degree to be accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Within the three weeks we do two, week-long experiments, and were able to choose which experiments we would prefer… As part of the extended labs we have also had to prepare a poster presentation, which we’re assessed on after labs finish… On our on-lab weeks we’re in the lab from 9-5 Monday to Friday, with an assignment to complete on top of that”

Another option open, which I chose, was to do a 14 week overseas (or 13 week in Europe) placement in another academic institution. The reason I chose this option was because I was undecided whether I wanted to continue in education and do a PhD post graduating and thought the placement would give me enough research experience to make an informed decision. Also the opportunity to travel to other side of the world was an opportunity I wasn’t sure when I’d get again. The locations overseas are Australia and Singapore and in Europe there is France, Switzerland, Austria and Barcelona.

Before arriving at your location it is up to you to contact academics at the host institution whose research who would be interesting in pursuing a research project in. I chose to do research in Medicinal Chemistry with the Thompson group and I am very glad I did, the group is great and the research always keeps you on your toes.

As part of the project you have to produce a report (no more than 5000 words) and a poster both of which must be handed in during the first week of term 1 when you return the following year. This is a little daunting but having the summer to work on the report and poster is great as I believe the department understands those who chose to do research placements abroad want to explore new cities and have new experiences.

Aside from the academic what have I gotten up to in the land down under! I have met koalas, wallabies, kangaroos and penguins during a trip to Philip Island. I have stayed in a beach house along the Great Ocean Road celebrating a friends 21. I have found a new love for the sport of climbing which I definitely plan to continue during my final year at Warwick I have watched two AFL games at the MCG and towards the end of the trip I will be jetting off to Sydney and then Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef.

 

I definitely do not regret my decision to come to Australia. Sorting supervisors/ flights/ accommodation/ visas are all a huge headache I won’t lie but the experiences I’ve had so far definitely make all that previous hassle worth it. 

  • Manpreet Kaur
    Manpreet Kaur Chemistry

    Hi John-Paul, Thank you for the blog. This is very interesting to read (especially the bit about penguins). I was wondering how your placement has shaped your views on pursuing a PhD? Just out of curiosity, I am wondering what you felt like a career in research is like? Thank you, Manpreet

    Reply

    • John-Paul Tyrrell
      John-Paul Tyrrell Chemistry

      Hey Manpreet, apologies for the super late reply I didn’t receive a notification informing me of the comment. Now I’m doing a summer placement in industry it’s quite interesting to compare how research is carried out in industry vs. academia and the general vibe of the two. Could possibly be a blog post. I certainly wouldn’t say I’m an expert in either but my current views are: Research in academia has a fairly chilled vibe, especially in a PhD where it’s your project so it’s mostly your responsibility to keep it going. You can come in when you please and leave when you want. Due to it being your work, you have the freedom to set your own working hours but I did know of some PhDs who would work some seriously late nights and come in on weekends. Research in industry is typically your 8am/9am – 4pm/5pm working hours and it’s encouraged to have a life outside of work which is nice. However, there will be times during project deadlines (from what I’ve heard not experienced) where later hours/ more stressful working conditions will occur. To actually answer your question while Australia hasn’t definitely set me on the path to pursue a PhD neither did it turn me off the idea. I think the MChem year will be a good indication of whether a PhD will be for me or not. So my advice would be to try both and see which style suits you. JP

      Reply

  • John-Paul Tyrrell
    John-Paul Tyrrell Chemistry

    Hey Manpreet, apologies for the super late reply I didn’t receive a notification informing me of the comment. Now I’m doing a summer placement in industry it’s quite interesting to compare how research is carried out in industry vs. academia and the general vibe of the two. Could possibly be a blog post. I certainly wouldn’t say I’m an expert in either but my current views are:

    Research in academia has a fairly chilled vibe, especially in a PhD where it’s your project so it’s mostly your responsibility to keep it going. You can come in when you please and leave when you want. Due to it being your work, you have the freedom to set your own working hours but I did know of some PhDs who would work some seriously late nights and come in on weekends.

    Research in industry is typically your 8am/9am – 4pm/5pm working hours and it’s encouraged to have a life outside of work which is nice. However, there will be times during project deadlines (from what I’ve heard not experienced) where later hours/ more stressful working conditions will occur.

    To actually answer your question while Australia hasn’t definitely set me on the path to pursue a PhD neither did it turn me off the idea. I think the MChem year will be a good indication of whether a PhD will be for me or not. So my advice would be to try both and see which style suits you.

    JP

    Reply

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